What is web hosting? Nowadays, with people spending more time on the internet, the inner workings that keep websites running remain a mystery to many.
However, not understanding the nuts and bolts of the internet doesn’t mean that you can’t create and own a website. Whether you are a beginner or have more experience launching a website, it’s a good idea to understand web hosting and its essential components.
Many individuals believe that websites are something that only exists digitally. The truth is physical resources are needed, to power internet content, mainly in the form of web servers.
What is Web Hosting and Why You Need it?
In the simplest terms, web hosting is a service that allows individuals and organizations to publish a website on the internet. A web host is a company with powerful computers (Servers) that rents out space to users. It is an account on a computer (aka Server or Web Server) that stores, hosts, and serves website files accessed by the internet. Your web host is where all your website files live.
Websites are a collection of files that include text, images, Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) files, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and other elements. Therefore, when someone visits your website, they are connected to the server where your website files are located and can be accessed.
A website requires two components to be visible across the internet, web hosting and a domain name. Keep in mind a domain name and web hosting are two separate things.
How Does Web Hosting Work?
A web host is a computer (aka web server) that stores and hosts your website files. Your web host is where your website files live.
When you enter a domain name into a web browser, it gets translated into the IP Address of the web host’s computer.
The web host’s computer is where your website files live. It then sends or serves those files back to the user’s web browser.
All though it is possible to set up a web host at home. It can be very challenging and expensive for most people. The easiest route is to choose a hosting company or provider to host your website files.
Web hosting companies specialize in hosting websites and have web servers pre-configured and leased out according to different hosting plans.
The company you purchase your web hosting from (web hosting service provider) will have the necessary hardware and software to add your website’s resources to a server. Web hosting providers will also offer other helpful features like security tools, website builder resources, email accounts, and great support to help you manage your website.
Types of Web Hosting Plans
There are several different types of web hosting because different website types and website technologies have different needs. The type of web hosting you’ll need depends on the type of business you have, the amount of website traffic, the number of visual assets on your site, and your budget.
- Shared Hosting: This is where you share a web server with other websites. So, one machine with multiple websites running. This option is beginner recommended and best suited to smaller websites with moderate traffic that want the most affordable option.
- Dedicated Hosting: This is where you get a web server all to yourself. So, one machine with just your website. This option is best for large websites with a high traffic volume that requires lots of resources.
- VPS Hosting: This is a split between shared and dedicated hosting. So, one web server that functions as multiple separate servers. This option is best for large website with a high traffic volume.
- Cloud Hosting: This is where you get a virtual server that runs in a cloud computing environment that stores data across a network of computers. This option is best for small to medium sized websites that require more resources that shared hosting.
- Managed Hosting: This is where the web hosting provider handles the set-up, administration, and support of the server. This option is more of a service than a type of hosting, that web hosting providers offer to customers.
- Specialized WordPress Hosting: This is web hosting specifically designed and optimized to run WordPress websites. This option is similar to managed hosting but for WordPress only. This is beginner recommended.
- E-commerce Hosting: This is web hosting specifically designed and optimized to run online store websites, including payment processing, shopping carts, and inventory management.
- Reseller Hosting: This is where a user will purchase server space, divide it, and resell it. This option allows you to earn money by reselling server space to your customers.